This post is going to be a little bit more … real than normal. While I really do try to keep things fun & light on here, this is something that has been on my mind recently. (I also think that it’s something a lot of young women struggle with, or at the very least, think about often.)
It could also very well be that I work at a company where“work-life balance” is often discussed. The questions “How do you balance everything?” or “How do you maintain a work-life balance?” come up during almost every single Office Hours. And honestly, those are the questions I want to hear answered most.
So I’m 23. I’m absolutely years away from starting a family, but I can’t stop thinking about it. Will my career ambitions allow me to have children? Would I be a stay-at-home mom (as my mom was) or would I have my husband stay home or would we both work and have a nanny? How old will I be when having children makes financial, personal, and career sense? Do I even want to have children?
I never expected to be able to answer those questions right away. And I don’t expect that I will ever completely know concretely. No matter what happens, I realize there will have to be some sort of sacrifice. It’s just which aspect of my life will outweigh the other, therefore becoming my priority and diminishing the feeling of “sacrifice.”
I think I always had it in the back of my mind growing up that I wanted to be a mom. My mom was the best mom. My sister and I always had “afterschool snacks” and an art supply collection that blew the rest of the families in our neighborhood out of the water. Stacy and I had free reign to explore, create, and learn right there beside our mom. We both definitely have an intense, super close bond with our mom that is more akin to friendship than anything else.
Once I got to college, I realized that having children and being a mom is more than just a commitment. And it’s super personal for everyone involved. (By that I mean that there are no right or wrong answers, you must do what works for you. Just because it works for one doesn’t mean it will work for another.) I started to get it in my head that I would rather not have children. I was focused on school and very invested in starting my company and growing as a writer. I couldn’t see children ever fitting into the lifestyle I dreamed of having as “an adult.”
Of course, then I graduated and was suddenly thrown into this thing called the Real World. Quickly, my feelings about children were being torn in every which way. I have this sneaking suspicion that I’m never going to leave NYC, ever. So I’d see these moms pushing high-tech, compact strollers around and think, “Oh, I’m going to turn into one of these Manhattan Moms.” Simultaneously, I was also thinking about how I was so excited to see my career unfolding and wasn’t sure how a family would fit into the picture.
Then I was home over Thanksgiving break and had to very gut-wrenching experiences. The first was seeing my beautiful next-door neighbors. I’ve babysat the three of them since they were born. Jacob is now (omg!) in the double digits. Abby has a boatload of grownup teeth shifting their way into her smile. And Izzy doesn’t have an ounce of baby left in her; she’s a long and strong four year old with a personality that fills the room. All I could think was, “When did this happen?” For over ten years, I’ve always had a baby in my life with their family. Literally since I was in middle school, there’s always been a baby (and even a puppy) to care for. And now they’re all grown up! That was the first time I missed having some sort of baby/toddler around. Although, it should go without saying… it’s been incredible to see them grow up and turn into amazing individuals. (I’m not too sure how I feel about Jacob creeping up to eye level though!!)
A few days later our family friend brought her newborn over. Holding that teeny tiny nugget of a human being was the best feeling. I don’t think I’ve held a baby that small since Abby was born (because Izzy was born when I was at college). It was the best feeling in the world.
And it completely opened both my eyes and my heart to the possibility (and frankly the desire) of having children. Not now, but eventually. I know there are millions of factors (particularly ‘timing’) that go into the decision making of starting of family, I think I’m way more open and excited about it than I ever was before.
Could things change in a couple of years? Absolutely.
But for now, I’m content with the fact that I’m good right now and that I’m not sure what the future holds, but I’m excited either way.
What do you think?